RE: [rp-ml] Slow growth

From: Andy Kirby <>
Date: Wed Apr 30 2008 - 11:40:15 EEST


The website describing the work of Enrico Dini does indeed look to be
revolutionary and fit's Adrians suggestion of print anything from sand.

Must admit though I find the claims re Enrico's Binder to be A. Mysterious
and B. to feel like it fits in the too good to be true category. (I could
be being excessively cynical here, sorry).

I wonder why the Construction industry is'nt snapping up the binder for
it's Portland Cement beating properties alone.

There should also be a ready market for smaller machines to print out
Bespoke Architectural Stonework to order (Quoins, Keystone's, Arch's,
Gargoyles etc). At least in the short term as folk catch up with the

Re Adrian's question of what to do with all the energy.

Consider that the Dessert Lands arguably have some of the highest energy
concentrations in terms of Insolation.

They also have water (just not easily accessible on the surface) or abut a

Harnessing that Acreage for energy capture (Adrian's Robots) and coupling
it with Desalination and Electrolysis of water could preposition the
Dessert Lands to continue as the global energy suppliers post Oil, through
being the primary source of Hydrogen for a global Hydrogen based economy.

Interestingly enough Hydrogen from Fossil fuels (with carbon capture) is
readily doable as a way to kick start the process.


Take a jolly into the dessert by camel every once in a while to
hunt/harvest the surplus solar cells and sell them on to folk for
Domestic/Industrial Electricity production elsewhere.

I guess if you leave them too long in situ Sandstorm Abrasion and Burying
could be problematic.

Thoughts for what they are worth.

Andy Kirby

"Ian Gibson" <> wrote:
> Marshall et al.
> Another person who might like to contribute to this discussion would
> be Scott Howe. He did his PhD under my supervision at HKU and is now
> working at JPL (I think) and has also been working with groups at
> NASA. The theme of his work for some time now has been
> self-constructing, off-world habitats.
> From what I know there have been people thinking and working on this
> subject for many years, with well-defined hierarchies for off-world
> habitats. These range from the static vehicle-cum-dwelling (caravan?)
> style of the first lunar modules, through to the expandable (space
> station) principle, and finally to mobile, automated, modular systems
> that have a high degree of redundancy, use the native regolith and
> adapt to the local conditions (like the environmental conditions and
> the terrain).
> Scott has PhDs in both architecture and engineering but he is not a
> regular monitor of rp-ml. I have therefore cc'd him in this email for
> those who might like to communicate with him.
> IG
> At 11:04 PM 4/29/2008, you wrote:
>>Hi Dawn and others who pointed this out,
>> Yes, thank you for that. It was Rupert Soar I was talking about.
>>Great project.
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Dawn White []
>>Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 09:41
>>To: Marshall Burns; 'Brock Hinzmann'; 'Adrian Bowyer'
>>Subject: RE: [rp-ml] Slow growth
>>List, Marshall is talking Rupert Soar, a professor at Loughborough
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: [] On
>>Of Marshall Burns
>>Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 8:45 AM
>>To: 'Brock Hinzmann'; 'Adrian Bowyer'
>>Subject: RE: [rp-ml] Slow growth
>>Hi Brock, Adrian, Stewart,
>> Yes, this is really interesting stuff. Several years ago I
>>with some robotics folks at UC Berkeley about a proposed project on what
>>called "synthetic termites." Termites are amazing critters. They chew up
>>wood and, coordinating the work of thousands of them simultaneously, spew
>>clumps of it semi-digested in patterns to build structures that are
>>for both their size and complexity. African termite mounds can be up to
>>feet tall. The walls are semi-permeable, so that the mound functions as a
>>huge, communal lung, extracting oxygen from passing wind and exhaling
>>dioxide. The structures have rooms to accommodate the queen and thousands
>>drones. The termite mound is a marvel of natural fabrication.
>> There's a guy from this RP community at a UK university whose
>>escapes me at the moment who did a project in an African desert some
>>ago where they encapsulated and physically sliced a termite mound to
>>digitize its structure.
>> The idea of coordinating the actions of thousands or millions of
>>autonomous microrobots to pick up tiny pieces of some raw material and
>>deposit it in patterns to build up predetermined structures is one of the
>>ultimate concepts in digital fabrication. I look forward to seeing some
>>people pick up and implement this idea.
>>Marshall Burns
>> <<< Warning: Severely outdated site,
>> but with some cool old stuff.
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: [] On
>>Of Brock Hinzmann
>>Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 01:53
>>To: Adrian Bowyer
>>Subject: Re: [rp-ml] Slow growth
>>Dear Adrian,
>>Yours is not an inconceivable application of existing and relatively
>>near-term technologies. A number of robot art projects exist that do
>>essentially what you propose. I only wish I had a paying client to put
>>it all together.
>>First of all, your idea to combine it with Marshall's Moon concept is
>>brilliant. A robot that has all of the time in the world to trek across
>>a planet (Mars and Venus also come to mind), powered by very low levels
>>of solar radiation, able to work slowly, tediously, but predictably, in
>>a space and time that no human would or could tolerate, has tremendous
>>economical advantages. We can also imagine applications here on Earth.
>>I have even seen concepts where a living plant shifts its weight in
>>response to the position of the sun, in order to create enough pressure
>>for a pedal, like a footfall on a bicycle, to move a robot forward. We
>>are talking really slow progress here, a foot a day, but a robot doesn't
>>If we are talking about preparing a far-off planet for some eventual
>>human occupation, then we may not care about slowly the robots work to
>>prepare an infrastructure, such as a solar-powered communications
>>network, as long as it progresses at a predictable rate. If the space
>>agencies could send robots well in advance, such a network could have a
>>variety of scientific research and environmental evaluation applications
>>that would be valuable, whether or not a human team is eventually sent
>>to live there.
>>Vast sections of Earth, deserts, outbacks, etc., could serve as testing
>>grounds of more immediate value. While many of these might be of social
>>benefit, the money to pay for them is limited. I have had some thoughts
>>recently that alternative financing methods are possible, such as
>>environmentally-concerned individuals willing to pay money to support
>>poor remote rural individuals to install and monitor [robots, in this
>>case, and] networks or the use of carbon credits or other alternative
>>currency/money systems to trade service for service or other values.
>>Perhaps Adrian has other contacts in the open-source world that are more
>>creative than I am in this regard.
>>Brock Hinzmann
>>Technology Navigator
>>Adrian Bowyer wrote:
>> > Quoting Stewart Dickson <>:
>> >
>> >> Back in the old days, Marshall Burns wrote essays proposing SLS
>> >> machines which ran on sand.
>> >> A new way to build a pyramid.
>> >> If it would work on Mars, it would work in Africa.
>> >
>> > I have thought for some time that it would be fun to build a robot
>> > that crawled very very slowly across sand, digging it up, refining it,
>> > extracting trace elements, and using the results to make PV cells
>> > inefficiently and badly.
>> >
>> > These it would leave connected up in a trail behind it as it moved
>> > forward a few meters per day. The cells would provide all the power
>> > it needed, of course.
>> >
>> > But what on Earth could we do with all the spare power that would be
>> > available after it had been left to wander about in a desert for a few
>> > years? There must be some use for it...
>> >
>> > Best wishes
>> >
>> > Adrian
>> >
>> > Dr Adrian Bowyer
>> >
>> >
>> >
> Associate Professor Ian Gibson
> Department of Mechanical Engineering
> National University of Singapore
> Tel: +65 92777343
> Don't look around to find the sound that's right beneath your feet
Received on Wed Apr 30 09:47:43 2008

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